The federal cabinet has approved the first-ever e-commerce policy framework of Pakistan to increase exports and strengthen digital economy, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on E-Commerce Aon Abbas.
Speaking at a seminar on e-commerce at the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Wednesday, he announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan, under his vision of promoting digital economy, would inaugurate an e-commerce web portal in February 2022.
He also revealed that first-ever e-commerce virtual university will be set up in the country and it will begin operations in July 2022.
“According to rough estimates, the value of domestic e-commerce stood at $4 billion last year while digital cross border trade activities worth Rs60 billion took place,” he said. “Approximately $340 billion worth of e-commerce is being carried out across the country.” Currently, 1.1-1.2 million freelancers are working in Pakistan and they are fetching $1.5 billion in remittances, he said. He stressed that the government was taking practical steps aimed at promotion of e-commerce.
“For this purpose, efforts are afoot to bring improvement in the postal system, value-chain, track and trace mechanism as well as the banking systems,” he said.
Simple, speedy and accredited system is essential for promotion of e-commerce, he stated. There are nine kinds of hurdles and impediments hindering the promotion of e-commerce and e-businesses in Pakistan, however, the government was taking concrete steps to eliminate them and fix problems at the earliest, the official said. According to him, the government wanted to introduce a system to ensure transportation of shipments or products for people from the comfort of their homes.
He noted that promotion of e-commerce and digital economy was the prime target of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Speaking on the occasion, SCCI SVP Imran Khan stressed the need for promotion of e-commerce and e-businesses.
Citing that Pakistan’s youth possessed abundant and matchless skills, he termed it unfortunate that the capabilities were not being utilised properly. He urged the Ministry of Commerce to conduct special capacity building workshops to impart knowledge among youth in a bid to enable it to use technology for promotion of business.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 13th, 2022.